Hawr al-Hammar/Hammar Marshes

Lin May Saeed


Installation, 260 x 508 x 50 cm.
Materials: Cardboard, transparent paper, wood, fluorescent lights

Collection: Courtesy the artist and Jacky Strenz, Frankfurt am Main.

A large-scale work made of transparent, cut and glued paper, Hammar Marshes refers to the south eastern Iraqi region where the largest contiguous wetlands in Eurasia, the Hammar Marshes, are located. The area is part of the Mesopotamian Marshes in the Tigris–Euphrates river system, considered by many to be an inspiration for the Garden of Eden. The area was destroyed by Saddam Hussein’s regime because of large-scale drainage as the marshes served as a hiding place for Shiite opposition members. In 2003, after the end of Hussein’s regime, the marshes went through partial restoration and Marsh Arabs (inhabitants of ancient water landscapes) returned to the area. Nowadays, the marshes are threatened again, this time by climate change and by pollution. Saeed’s work draws attention towards the situation of this land subjected to political and ecological disaster. An Iraqi swamp, its dwellings, landscape, and relationship between humans and animals become the subject of a series of drawings, reliefs and this back-lit paper work created by Saeed.

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